Krypton – Season 1 Overall Review

krypton season 1

When Krypton was announced I thought to myself “sounds boring, but I’ll probably give it a watch at some point”, and it seems I was right in that I’d eventually give it a go, but turns out it wasn’t that boring! … Eventually. Sort of. Don’t get me wrong, the series has some serious flaws, but it’s not without charm, and has some good moments towards the end. Let’s take a closer look, anyway!

Synopsis:

Two hundred years before the time of Superman, the corrupt regime leading the city of Kandor on Krypton executes Val-El, grandfather of Seg-El, for treason. Seg and his parents are stripped of their privileges and banished to the lower class slums. Fourteen years later Seg meets with a man not only claiming to be from another planet called Earth, but claiming to be from the future, saying that Seg’s grandson’s life was in danger and he needs to help him save it…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

krypton season 1 4

“This is your grandson’s cape!”  “A bit bright isn’t it? We go for more drab colours here on Krypton… for some reason.”

Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) – Seg has adjusted to life amongst the Rankless, even getting some money in bar fights. Still, he would like nothing more than to see the return of the House of El…

Lyta-Zod (Georgina Campbell) – Lyta is currently seeing Seg-El on the side, thinking her mother doesn’t know, but she does. As a Zod she is expected to rise high in the ranks of the military, but she’s finding it impossible to live up to those lofty expectations…

Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos) – Adam Strange is a bit of a goof, not taken seriously in his home era because of superheroes with powers being so common, so when he gains access to time travel and sees an opportunity to save Superman himself, he takes up the challenge not just to save his idol, but to prove to himself that he too can be a hero…

General Dru-Zod (Colin Salmon) – General Zod is a major enemy of Superman back on future Earth, but he has come to the planet of his birth to help save the it from its fate… or so he says…

Brainiac (Blake Ritson) – Brainiac collects cities and planets and stores them in his collection, countless trillions of lives frozen in one moment of time, never aging… and now Krypton has caught his attention…

Daron-Vex (Elliot Cowan) – Daron-Vex is very goal orientated, that goal being to make sure the House of Vex (and more specifically himself) raises to the very top of Krypton, any way possible…

Nyssa-Vex (Wallis Day) – Nyssa is Daron-Vex’s daughter, and wishes also to see her house go up the rankings, though she resents her father’s cold-hearted selfishness towards her, viewing her as a means to achieve his goals, rather than as a daughter…

Jayna-Zod (Ann Agbomo) – Jayna is the Primus of the Kryptonian military, no greater honour in the field exists. As a Zod she had to undergo harrowing trials as a child, a lesson she now coldly presses on her own daughter Lyta…

Kem (Ramsus Hardiker) – Kem is a Rankless who runs a bar in the slums, and became close friends with Seg during his time in exile.

And many more!

The Good:

krypton season 1 1

“Kneel before Zod!”   “I can’t, you tied me to a chair…”   “Oh right… Damn.”

As much as a lot of the scenery inside the buildings is really boring, the actual realisation of Krypton and Kandor is really good, both visually and in the class system. Now, I’ll admit I rolled my eyes a bit when it turned out Seg-El and a Zod were in a relationship, but I guess it makes sense to stick with what few things people will recognise you have.

While I found Seg-El a little dull (well, a lot dull to start with) he eventually settled in to the lead protagonist role well enough, the writer’s vein attempts to make him a likeable rogue ala Han Solo in the first episode or two slowly going away. Adam Strange was a fun comedy sidekick-type, and his trying to save Krypton and therefore Superman was a good plot point, even better when the truth was revealed…

It turns out Adam Strange wasn’t sent to save Kandor from Brainiac as he had been saying, he just knew an old foe of Superman’s was trying to tamper with time but it’s soon revealed that Brainiac taking Kandor City and destabilising Krypton leading to its destruction was established history, and that wasn’t who he was after. Instead, a mysterious member of “Black Zero”, a resistance group trying to take down the current regime, turns out to be General Zod himself, who has also time travelled. This came as a complete surprise to me, given how little I’d paid attention to the series, so that was a fun reveal as he was pinned down by a younger version of his own mother Lyta. What’s good is that he’s there to legitimately save Krypton, unlike Adam Strange who wants it to get destroyed so the Superman he knows on Earth can still exist. It’s a fun switch around, even if Zod does plan to eventually take an army of Kryptonians to Earth and take it over out of spite…

While all this is being revealed, Brainiac does actually arrive. For a good while the mysterious leader of Krypton, “The Voice of Rao”, is the lead antagonist as he gets infected and taken over by Brainiac before he gets there, and it works brilliantly. Blake Ritson nails both the creepy cult leader, and then later Brainiac himself, who is realised on-screen surprisingly accurately. The series ends on a few cliffhangers, like Zod finding out he’s the son of Lyta and Seg-El, meaning he’s half El and that Superman all along was his own relative, Brainiac is sucked into the Phantom Zone but manages to take Seg with him, and generally Zod has taken command of the now saved Kandor and is looking forward to making everyone kneel before him, probably. Adam Strange is back on board after a crisis of confidence, and it turns out that Val-El, Seg’s grandfather, was alive in the Phantom Zone all this time, and he’s rescued shortly before his grandson is taken. It should all lead to an interesting second season.

The Bad:

krypton season 1 2

They really needed some interior designers with a bit of imagination of Krypton…

I will say that a lot of the characters were very plain. Daron-Vex was your classic scheming politician, Nyssa-Vex was the sly daughter of scheming politician who outsmarts her father but begins down a path of good out of spite more than anything, Jayna-Zod is your straight-laced, by-the-books military hard-arse, although the struggles between Zod honour and tradition and the love she has for her daughter made her more layered towards the end I’ll admit. Kem is your classic jokey side-kick with a tragic upbringing, and our lead couple aren’t exactly breaking the mould themselves, though Seg, as mentioned, gets better later, and Lyta is decently grounded throughout the story. Adam Strange being amusing, Voice of Rao/Brainiac being a great villain, and Val-El being a good kindly old mentor are about the only characters who properly rise above averageness…

There is a little girl who loses her mother to Brainiac mind control about half way through the season and gets taken in by Kem, then later Brainiac himself, and she’s… not very good. Again, yes, she’s only young bless her etc, but I’m sure they could have found a better child actor. They do exist!

The first few episodes, establishing the houses of Krypton and where Seg was at his eye-rollingly stereotypical worst, are quite dull and even veering into bad. If it weren’t for a few people saying “it gets good towards the end” I might have turned off all together.

Lastly there was a subplot involving Doomsday being unleashed by Zod to take out Brainiac which… if this alternate universe Zod has any actual idea of what Doomsday is then he clearly wouldn’t actually think this was a good idea, especially later when he finds out Seg is his father, does he think unleashing Doomsday before he’s conceived is a good plan for his survival??!

Overall Thoughts:

krypton season 1 3

Funny how a TV series that wasn’t exactly a major deal in any way became the first thing to do a proper live-action version of Brainiac…

Krypton reminds me a bit of the first season of Agents of SHIELD, where it starts off rather confused and just meanders a bit, then gets good towards the end. The key difference is that the end of AoS Season 1 was great, the end here was just good, though Krypton had a lot fewer episodes, at least. Overall the show is fine, I didn’t dislike watching it (many months after it had aired) and I will be watching Season 2, but if you’re looking for something to get you really excited and blow your mind you’d be best served to look elsewhere…

3 Star Watch

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